The Swine and Stein Brewfest returns to downtown Gardiner on Saturday. Attendees enjoy beverages and listen to live music in this photo from 2017. Credit: Courtesy of Gardiner Main Street

GARDINER, Maine — The Swine and Stein Brewfest is returning for its 14th year on Saturday with a pig roast and its largest ever selection of samples from Maine breweries and other beverage distributors.

Approximately 1,200 people from around central Maine and New England attend the event in downtown Gardiner each year, and organizers are expecting a similar turnout this weekend, said Melissa Lindley, executive director of Gardiner Main Street, which hosts the brewfest.

Attendees will have a chance to sample beer, wine, spirits and more from 24 distributors, which is 10 more than last year, she said.

People attending the Swine and Stein Brewfest in downtown Gardiner participate in a frozen T-shirt contest. The annual event returns Saturday. Credit: Courtesy of Gardiner Main Street

Gardiner’s Swine and Stein Brewfest began in 2009 and has grown into the city’s largest annual event, Lindley said. Ticket sales benefit Gardiner Main Street, a nonprofit focused on strengthening the city as a hub for community and commerce.

The brewfest also includes pork dishes — which inspired the brewfest’s name — and other food options as a way to highlight area businesses. The event will be held from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, on Water Street in Gardiner. VIP tasting hour begins at noon, and general admission starts at 1 p.m.

Tickets are $40 and available online through Friday. Attendees will receive a tasting glass. The price will increase to $45 on Saturday, online and at the entrance gate. Non-drinking tickets for designated drivers are $10, including free water and soda.

A portion of Water Street will be shut down from about 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. for the brewfest, Lindley said.

Brewfest organizers held a different version of the event in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, she said. People received a variety pack of beers from breweries around the state.

Swine and Stein Brewfest attendees enjoy a wide array of beverages during the event in October 2021. Credit: Courtesy of Gardiner Main Street

This year’s brewfest will feature beer, cider, mead and other craft beverages from Tin Top Cider Co. in Alna, Solar Rock Winery in Dayton, Fat Friar’s Meadery in Newcastle, Chadwick’s Craft Spirits in Pittston, Sebago Lake Distillery in Gardiner, Brickyard Hollow Brewing Co. in Yarmouth and many others.

Food vendors include Bao & Beyond, Goldfinch Creamery, Kabayan Philippine Food Truck, Smokey & Brines, Pinky D’s Poutine Factory and downtown restaurants. The Blind Pig Tavern, a restaurant on Water Street, will roast a pig during the event, Lindley said.

“The brewfest is really unique,” she said. “We do some quirky games, like a beard [and mustache] contest and a rock, paper scissors contest. We try to keep it really fun.”

Attendees can also participate in games such as corn hole, giant Jenga, and Pass the Pigs, plus a frozen T-shirt race, where participants must thaw, unfold and wear a frozen T-shirt, according to the brewfest’s website.

Gardiner Main Street partnered with Johnson Hall Performing Arts Center to schedule a lineup of Maine bands, including The Boneheads, Juke Joint Devils and Random Ideas.